We’ve said it a few times: It’s really, really important to makes sure that your will and beneficiary designations are up-to-date.
But what exactly does that look like?
There isn’t an exact formula to how often you should update your will. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to makes sure you’re updating it after major life changes.
After a Change in Marital Status
Getting married is a huge life change that affects all aspects of your life. When you get married is a very important time to update your will. It ensures that you remember to write in your spouse to your will, and that you can make sure they’re looked after when you’re gone. Similarly, divorce changes a lot about your life (and finances). After a divorce, make sure you update your will to remove them as a beneficiary. The last thing you’d want is to pass away and have property or money going to an ex-spouse (or maybe you do for some reason).
After Having Children
A child entering the picture is another world-altering event. Between the excitement, fear, joy, and tears, the last thing that might be on your mind is your will. But this is actually one of the most important times to do just that. Revisiting a will after the birth of a child, whether they’re your first or fifth, is crucial to making sure that child is protected and cared for if something happens to you. Delegating finances is one thing, but there is more you can do for your child in your will. If your child is under 18 when you pass, they will need someone to take care of them. If you don’t specify who, the court will appoint someone who may or may not be the best caregiver. Updating your will when a child is born helps protect them in these sorts of circumstances and makes sure they go to a guardian who you approve of and trust.
When Your Income Changes Substantially
Significant changes in income can affect your tax bracket and how you decide to distribute your estate. If you suddenly become the beneficiary of a trust or inherit a large sum of money or properly, it’s important to factor that in to your will.
Conversely, if you spend or lose a substantial amount of money, or buy or sell property, it is a good idea to make sure that your will reflects those changes.
Having an up-to-date will makes things less complicated and insures that your loved ones are looked after. It can also keep your estate from going into probate.
If you’re ready to start the conversation about beginning your will, contact us today!